Poetry Reading in the Community Centre

I only notice it during the third reading,

matt red helium balloon

stroking smooth plaster ceiling,

magnetic frottage without fingers – buoyed,

desiring further progress

but barred, confined, hall-bound:

but for how long? I am on fifth.

I will this audience: look up, everyone!

No-one hears my silence, all are intent,

fixed to the words, and clothing, of reader four.

I monitor chemical decay within this scarlet orb,

surely its croaking gas must oxidise tomorrow;

at night perhaps – or during harmless pilates…

but not now, surely not now?

Bad things I have noted during poems:

ambulance siren…barking dog…baby…

mobile phone insolence…chair collapse.

Never a failing, fading helium balloon.

I’m on: 

second line of second sonnet sees cerise

drifting, falling, wafting gentle-deadly

between avid front row and naked me.

I finally dry up when it can go no further

than polish-proud tea-dance floor:

from prisoner of anti-gravity

to prisoner of softening plastic weight

in one fell droop. Just like my soul.

This perfunctory, airhead meteorite has hit –

and I must accept extinction, the dinosaur’s art.   

Ted Eames, 2018